Stay-at-Home Dad 101: I’m No Longer an Overweight Vegan- I Lost 7.5 Pounds in the Past 30 Days, BMI is Now 24.5

Exactly a month ago, I revealed to the free world that I had officially become an overweight vegan. At 5’9” and 176 pounds, I had a BMI of 26; which put me about 6 pounds past the “normal” or “optimal” BMI range.

Yes, this concept might explode in the face of some out-of-touch people who still assume vegans don’t get enough protein. By the way, I’ve noticed a pattern in which the same people who are the most vocal about the misconception that vegans don’t get enough protein, tend to be overweight men with onset diabetes or who are pre-diabetic. Perhaps that in itself is more ironic that the fact that a vegan can be overweight…

But as the video above proves, I have undeniably lost 7.5 pounds in the past 30 days. I went from 176 pounds to 168.5. I went from a BMI of 26 (overweight) to now a BMI of 24.5 (normal).

How did I do this? Starve myself? Go around hungry? Pay a lot of money to join a program to keep me accountable? Join a gym and slave away to intense cardio 2 hours a day?

Nah, that’s not my style. Instead, here are the changes I have made since a month ago:

I started eating 2 apples or 2 oranges every day; which provides natural sugar and fiber.

I stopped eating vegan ice cream and vegan candy bars at night after the kids are asleep.

Other than one Cliff bar each day as my only “treat”, I stopped eating any snacks that are processed; including whole grain waffles with vegan butter and maple syrup.

I also started drinking unsweetened “slumber” tea before I go to bed each night; to help keep my mind off of consuming any last minute empty calories.

For my salad each night with dinner, I only use balsamic vinegar; no longer any oil-based vegan dressings.

That’s it.

As far as exercise, there was one day the weather was decent enough that I went on a 2 mile run.

Obviously, this new regimen is working for me, so I will continue making this my new norm. My goal is to get down to the mid-150s for my weight; which at this point, is only 13 pounds away.

So a month from now, I will return with the newest update on my journey from overweight vegan to ideal-weight vegan.

In case you missed it, here’s the video from 30 days ago when I proved I was an overweight vegan. I want there to be no doubt in anyone’s mind I was indeed overweight just one month ago.

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Stay-at-Home Dad 101: I Am Now Officially an Overweight Vegan (176 pounds, 5’ 9”, Age 36, Medium Frame)

I am fundamentally opposed to New Year’s Resolutions. I have always said that if a person is truly ready to make a change in their life, then why wait for some arbitrary date on a calendar?

So for me, the first day of the rest of my life was not January 1st, but instead, it happens to be January 8th.

Last night after I took my shower and put on my size large t-shirt, I couldn’t help but notice how tight it felt. So I did something I rarely do: I weighed myself on the scale.

It took me a moment to accept my reality: I now weigh around 176 pounds. The most I’ve ever weighed was 178 pounds, and that was when I was in my late 20s and still eating meat, eggs, and dairy.

The lowest I’ve ever weighed since high school was 153 pounds; easily fitting into size 31 pants. Check out this video I made just 2 and a half years ago in May 2015, to see me in the ideal weight range for my height:

But there was a subtle change that began just a couple of months later, once my wife got pregnant with our now 20 month-old daughter back in July 2015. As my wife began eating more during the pregnancy, so did I… and I never stopped!

For over two years now, I have been slowly and steadily gaining weight; yet remaining faithful to my diet consisting of only vegetables, fruit, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. That means no meat, no eggs, no dairy.

In two months from now, it will be 5 whole years that I’ve been a vegan.

This isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned this “vegan weight gain”. I first brought it up in September, a month before I became a stay-at-home dad, in my first Dad Bod post.

What’s interesting, as my wife recently pointed out, is I’m actually eating one less meal a day now that I work from home and take care of our kids. Back when I worked at the office, I always had a huge bowl of oatmeal; full of protein and saturated fat, thanks to the nuts and unsweetened cocoa I put in it.

But now that I’m constantly caring for a 20 month-old daughter all day long, plus a 7 year-old son before and after school, plus writing and shooting videos whenever I get a chance, I just don’t have much time to eat… until we all eat dinner as family each night; which is apparently when I make up for any lack of calories.

I am convinced that my strategy to get back to my ideal weight is to aggressively eliminate empty or unnecessary calories; especially during dinner, which is my biggest meal. It’s important to me that I don’t go hungry, but instead, that I stop eating once I get enough food. I need to do a better job of telling the two apart.

Just imagine the irony of an overweight vegan. Imagine all those well-meaning, yet concerned people telling me over the years, “Well, just make sure you get enough protein…”

Uh, yeah, that’s clearly not a problem for me.

And in case anyone is skeptical that I am indeed overweight, perhaps because I don’t “look” overweight, just check out the height and weight chart. For my height of 5’ 9” and having a medium frame, I officially became overweight once I crossed 170 pounds. That was about 6 pounds ago.

What’s my motivation to get back into that ideal weight range where I was back in May 2015? It’s not about self-esteem. My confidence is not effected by my weight gain.

Instead, it’s important to my identity that I have control over my own body. In the same way I refuse to let other people control my emotions, I now must refuse to let my overeating habits effect my weight.

No kidding: As I was putting this blog post together, my daughter who was sitting on my lap, looked up at the picture below of my belly, and in all sincerity asked, “Baby?”

I am an overweight vegan. We do exist, yes. But I do plan to change that.

Why Do Jews and Muslims Not Eat Pork or Shellfish? Preventative Health Reasons.

Before switching over to a kosher diet 9 years ago on Thanksgiving Day 2008, I always assumed that the reason Jewish and Muslim people didn’t eat pork or shellfish was more arbitrary; something to the effect of simply showing obedience to God by disciplining their eating habits.

But after eliminating all pork (ham, bacon, sausage) and shellfish (shrimp, scallops, clams), and seeing for myself how it was causing my eczema (dyshidrosis) to finally start clearing up after nearly a decade, even though it’s “medically incurable”, I realized that this whole kosher thing actually had a scientific purpose.

In the same way we all know now that beef is worse for our health than chicken, certain “bottom-feeder” animals are naturally less healthy than others for us to eat.

It easily makes sense that a pig, which will eat nearly anything and has no sweat glands, is naturally going to be less nutritious to the human body, as compared to a cow; though beef is red meat, cows eat only plants.

So indeed there is a scale of uncleanness in the animal kingdom, that helps us to understand which are most likely to increase our chances of getting cancer and disease.

I believe we all know by know what the black strip is along the back of a shrimp, right? When it comes to seafood, shellfish are the bottom-feeders who eat all the rotting remnants and feces. Even catfish fall into this category.

The more I learned about this, and realized that by eating only plants, I didn’t even have to worry about the “scale of uncleanness” anymore, it was a natural transition for me to switch to the Mediterranean diet, then vegetarian, and finally vegan.

So nine years ago I became kosher, and for the most recent half of those years I’ve been vegan.

The eczema has been gone for many years now. And the sinus infections. And the pet allergies.

Coincidence? I submit it is not.

What Do Vegans Eat for Thanksgiving? Bacon & Eggs, Lasagna, Pizza, and Lemon Pie

Keep in mind that veganism has increased by 500% since 2014. That means when I became a vegan back in March 2013, less than 1% of Americans were vegans. Now in 2017, that number has risen to an amazing 6% of America’s population.

That’s around 19 million Americans who no longer eat turkey for Thanksgiving, but who did just a few years ago. Imagine how that invisible shift that has been created in our economy- and how grocery stores have had to adjust accordingly.

So if you’re an outsider looking in, who is curious to fathom how a person who no longer eats meat, eggs, or dairy could possibly enjoy a wonderful feast for Thanksgiving… well then, you’ve come to the right place!

Just as it’s never been easier in the history of the world to become obese and/or develop onset Diabetes, especially here in America, it’s also never been easier to live the vegan lifestyle. It’s so easy to obtain food alternatives in most grocery stores these days. Obviously, America’s grocery stores are now being forced to cater to the dietary needs of 6% of America’s population; in addition to the mainstream.

So while we could have opted for the Tofurky as we’ve done every vegan Thanksgiving before this one, we chose instead to have more of an Italian theme; despite learning this year from MyHeritage DNA tests that my Italian side of the family is actually genetically Sephardic Jewish and Middle Eastern…

The assumption is that vegans are left with limited options for meals. But as a surviving vegan of 4 and a half years (meaning that I’ve yet to die from “not getting enough protein”), I have actually found I have much more freedom than ever before.

Turkey is boring. Even back when I still ate meat, I was never really that excited about turkey.

But just take a look at these pictures, which still only cover about 2/3’s of what our family ate for Thanksgiving:

Vegan lasagna with “cashew” cheese sauce, vegan English muffin pizzas, and even a hearty Southern style breakfast thanks to vegan bacon and scrambled tofu.

Plus, I can’t forget the desserts: from molten chocolate lava cake to lemon tart pie. And it’s not like these recipes are hard to find. Just Google them.

In case I need to actually say this, here it is: All the food was so delicious!

The non-vegan family members were not disappointed at all to be forced, by default, to join us in our traditional vegan Thanksgiving festivities.

What do vegans eat for Thanksgiving? Anything we want.

As long as it comes from the vegan food sources:

Veggies, fruits, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.

If Vegans Don’t Get Enough Protein, Why Can’t I Fit into My Size 31 Pants Anymore? 5 Ways To Get Rid of My New “Dad Bod”

Amazingly, in the year 2017, there are still people who still assume vegans don’t get enough protein. They should just take a look at me then.

For the first time in the 4 and a half years I’ve been a vegan, and more than a year of being a vegetarian before that, I can no longer fit into my size 31 pants, which is the size I moved down to when I converted to the plant-based lifestyle. Even size 32 is becoming an issue now.

It would be one thing if I never exercised, but that’s clearly not the case. I have been very vocal about how for years now, I have been mountain biking, walking a minimum of 30 minutes a day, doing pull-ups, and even adding skateboarding to the mix this year.

Plus, all this summer, I have been running 2 miles, at least twice a week; even in 93 degree weather or rain.

Even this past Saturday while our family was on fall vacation, I ran down and then back up the mountain our cabin was on (the equivalent of 2 miles), without ever stopping. Later, I saw a very muscular guy who looked younger than I am, attempting to run the same course, but he had to stop to walk.

I’m healthy and I’m physically fit, especially for a 36 year-old… but I’m also gaining weight.

For a guy who consumes 0% of his daily cholesterol allowance, and who gets all his protein and nutrients from simply vegetables, fruit, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds, it would be easy to believe that a guy like me would have no issues with my pants no longer fitting.

Clearly, I’m getting enough protein. And enough exercise.

The fundamental problem? I’m simply consuming more calories than my body actually needs; even with all the exercise and my 0% cholesterol vegan lifestyle.

If I am to get back to size 31, I suppose it’s a matter of deliberately changing my lifestyle again, in addition to remaining vegan and continuing my regular exercise routine:

  1. Eating smaller meals and not going back for seconds.
  2. Not having vegan desserts anymore, like cashew ice cream and vegan chocolate bars.
  3. Eating whole fruit after dinner, to take the place of going back for seconds or dessert.
  4. Using balsamic vinegar for salad dressing again, so I can further cut out oils from my diet.
  5. Nearly nixing alcohol intake all together.

I am currently 167 pounds, which nearly puts me in the “overweight” category. I am 3 pounds away from being overweight. I am not okay with this. For me, it’s an attack on my identity. I have control over my weight… my weight doesn’t control me. I don’t have to settle for an expanding waistline just because, “This is just what happens when you start getting older.”

It’s funny because, in theory, I don’t eat a lot anyway:

My homemade smoothie and black coffee in the morning, my oatmeal or vegan ramen noodles at lunch, and a solid meal at dinner consisting of whatever Italian or Mexican dish my wife prepares along with a dark green salad. And the equivalent of a glass of wine or two.

No meat, no fish, no eggs, no milk, no cheese, no yogurt.

But it’s time to reduce my intake, so that I can also reduce my waist size and comfortably fit into my size 31 pants again.

I am not a victim. I am victorious. I shall overcome!

So yeah… I think it’s safe to say that as a vegan, I’m getting enough protein.

4 Lies the Fitness Industry Loves to Tell You (By Guest Blogger, Mathews McGarry)

It’s a vicious circle, one of the average consumer attracted to the oily abs on those magazine covers, and that of the marketing frenzy to always give their clients an edge over their competitors. Everyone is looking to invent/sell/discover the “-est” formula of fitness success. Hence the titles “the fastest way to get cut”, “the best workout for fat loss”, all neatly packed with “experts”, gurus” and “incredible transformations”.

Getting out of this Wayward Pines of fitness can be a long and windy road, simply because your subconscious desperately wants to believe these lovely lies, and wouldn’t our lives be so much simpler if they were only true?

Diet or die

Wherever you look, there seems to be another last solution you’ll ever need. Intermittent fasting, chrono, raw, paleo, juicing, keto, low-fat, Mediterranean, gluten-free, Atkins, you name it, it’s there to salvage your soul. Followed, of course, by lists of crazy-expensive dishes with ingredients you can barely pronounce, let alone prepare.

And with the help of the rights Instagram babes and bods, it’s no wonder we all want to believe them, despite their photoshopped, filtered, altered images selectively posted to tease our minds into thinking we could or should ever look like that. The low self-esteem card is their absolute favorite, and the simple truth hiding behind all those diets is painfully obvious: every one of us is different, and whatever you prefer and choose to eat, should be in moderation.

No pain, no gain

The supposition that you should be in pain is not only dangerous, but also inconsistent with their oversimplified gimmicks to reach your fitness goal. What was designed to aim at your motivation and make you feel less than worthy unless your exercise is riddled with “blood, sweat and tears”, is in fact the quickest road to injury and failure.

Not that your routine should be a breezy session as it can seem in certain videos online, when the instructors leisurely explain their exercises without losing their breath. Putting in a reasonable amount of effort as opposed to taking part in a grueling training session will yield results without making you feel miserable or forcing you through the fitness equivalent of a military boot-camp.

You need it all, and you need it now

How do all those fitness magazines, blogs and online experts even survive in this overpopulated industry, you wonder? Adverts, of course! The sole purpose of the majority of these outlets is to sell you something, so they aim to make you believe you need all of it to reach your goals.

But just like no fancy shin-pads, elevation masks, or gravity boots can keep you harm-proof if your form is poor, mindlessly buying everything labeled fitness doesn’t guarantee you any advantage over the guy who trains with actual knowledge in his hands. Don’t buy into the hype and stick to your bare essentials such as trusty belts, sturdy weightlifting shoes and your long-lasting gloves.

Fitness miracles

Just look at Thor’s pecks, and the Rock’s rock-hard abs! They MUST be the result of that one-week makeover routine or that magical supplement! Sure, unless you have some basic knowledge of human biology – muscles cannot sprout over-night, nor can you shed pounds with that fat-burner mix from your favorite fitness store shelf.

Anything that offers fast results (not counting steroids) is, in a nutshell, a load of BS. No five-minute-a-day routine can bring out your abs unless you lower your body-fat percentage to an unhealthy level, nor can you become Hulk-esque with a ten-minute strength-building routine. Living in a fast-paced world requires fast-selling solutions, and since you cannot train six hours five times per week and have a hoard of trainers and nutritionists tailoring your every move, of course you prefer the illusion.

With clarity of vision and a handful of useful information, you’ll get much further than you ever will with a heap of mindless tips and tricks not even their inventors believe. As comforting the world behind the blue pill may be, for the sake of your health, I’d strongly advise you to take the red one.

 

Why You Should Put an Air Purifier in the Kids’ Room (By Guest Blogger, Angela Berry)

You may have lived without one (or several), your entire life, so chances are you don’t even know what you’re missing. Nonetheless, the quality of the air we breathe is, we must face it, not the best, and you are definitely all in dire need of a great air purifier. Now, while a grown-up’s body may be more resilient, children are more fragile little humans and for their sake, you need to protect and make your home the best it can be, so without further ado, let’s see how every kids’ room can benefit from an air purifier, and perhaps along the way you’ll realize you need one for your room as well.

The beloved pets

For most people, the thought of abandoning a pet once the babies come is virtually inconceivable, as it should be. Babies and pets can certainly coexist in the same space happily and actually be very beneficial for each other. Still, our beloved pets can bring about a certain number of issues. When you welcome an animal into your home, you also leave the door open for pet odors, urine stains, and skin dander. These odors can be upsetting and cause respiratory distress in those prone to allergies, and since you never know when a child can develop an allergy to something, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Of course, although an air purifier alone can’t fix everything, and keeping a clean home is paramount to your health, great air purifiers can do plenty to add to the state of your home and the air you breathe as well as eliminate these allergens from your home. Vacuum regularly, keep your home clean and call an air purifier for extra backup.

They serve as helpers with asthma

Your child’s developing body doesn’t work like yours does. Their metabolisms are immature and can’t always excrete chemicals as efficiently as an adult, which in turn makes them more vulnerable to the effects of air pollution. Many children who suffer from asthma can be further aggravated by airborne particles and chemicals, and that’s where a great air purifier steps in. They clean the air, remove dust, destroy or prevent the formation of mold and certain kinds of bacteria. Therefore, they reduce allergen levels in your home, and help fight allergies and asthma.

A purifier a day keeps the illness away

As a parent, your number one priority is your kids’ health. Well, there are times when grown-ups, whether it’s you, or a friend or a relative who visits your home that brings the flu into your home. Airborne flu virus particles move from person to person through sneezing and coughing and failure to wash hands afterward. Bacteria thrive in warm, humid areas of the home and can cause serious illness to the young ones. So, even if the people carrying the virus are nowhere near the kids, it’s not guaranteed that the germs won’t find their way into their room. So, when there’s an air purifier present in your child’s room, the risk of these germs and subsequent illness will be significantly lowered and that will help keep your kids healthy.

You live in a less than perfect neighborhood

If you live in an urban area, that’s either close to the freeway or generally gets a lot of car traffic, you most definitely need to pollute-proof your kids’ room. As their main task is providing clean, safe air, that’s exactly what they’ll do. You can’t afford to keep your windows closed at all times, and a certain amount of polluted air is bound to creep from the street and into your home, so make sure you nip it in the bud.

You just moved to a brand new home

Buying a new place where you will form new and happy memories is a wonderful thing. However, there is a little-known fact that that ‘new house’ smell usually comes from pollutants such as formaldehyde which is a dangerous toxin that has been shown to cause health problems. An air purifier can help filter this toxic air and give everyone in the home a bit more confidence that they are breathing healthier air, and as much as it’s important for your health, it’s crucial for your children’s.